Durex on why its ‘sex positive’ rebrand is the most important work it will ever do

Durex is creating a new brand purpose and visual identity to try to combat harmful stereotypes in porn.

Durex’s new identity makes greater use of its lozenge

Durex is creating a new brand purpose as it looks to “be a lighthouse” for young people searching for positive depictions of sex.

The positioning, created by Havas London, includes a new visual identity that the brand hopes will tackle stigmas around sex.

To do that, it is making use of its ‘lozenge’ – the shape that surrounds the word Durex in its logo. That will be used through its advertising to put a spotlight on some of the realities of sex and challenge conventions.

Sexual wellbeing global category director at Reckitt Benckiser, Ben Wilson, says that despite more liberal attitudes to sex Gen Z is being damaged by the rise of porn.

He tells Marketing Week: “This is the most important piece of work we might ever do because there is a sexual revolution going on at the moment and there is lots of good stuff happening but there is also a lot of bad stuff happening.”

The 91-year-old company unveiled the new branding on Valentine’s Day, in an open letter that begins: “What if this Valentine’s we challenge sexual norms?”

The outdoor ads read: “So what if we take a stand for sex? Worry less about how it ‘should’ look. Celebrate how it can feel. Where porn’s not the norm. And STDs are kinda real. Women aren’t judged too quick. Guys aren’t told they need a big ****.”

durex It aims to shine a light on the realities of sex with lines such as: “We’re faking it. Two out of three of us are not fully satisfied with our sex lives.”

Wilson says younger people are “very different” to previous generations in their exposure to sex and what it means to them.

“They are getting exposed to very different things and have very different attitudes and there is not a lot of help or support for them. There is a lot of stereotypes and misinformation pushed on them so we wanted to stand up as a brand and really start to help people as they are exploring,” he explains.

Durex found in a 2017 global sex survey in which it questioned more than 29,000 participants across the world that more than half (54%) of Gen Z don’t identify as exclusively heterosexual.

Wilson adds: “A lot has changed in the past 10 years in the world of sex and not all of it has been good. Porn has also had a significant change and with that a massive rise in uncertainties and worries.”

The new positioning has been in the works for 18 months, with all Durex’s marketing and communications globally changing to reflect the new message. The aim is to normalise good sex for all, no matter what it looks like.

Wilson says: “We are trying to challenge those expectations and norms and say that whatever they are, whoever they are, whatever they want to do it’s cool and Durex is here to support you and help you explore.”

Wilson has an eight-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter, and he hopes the campaign will “help create a world that my son and daughter have sex and be happy whatever that choice is”.

Ultimately, he hopes Durex will be able to support a diverse range of people so that “they are able to turn to ask and we can be there to support them”.

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